May 25, 2010
Snow Loads: Holding The Winter Weight
A brutal winter can be a real wake-up call for growers. Forcing you to ask questions: Are my greenhouse structures up to par? Are they strong enough to withstand heavy snow from a late and unexpected storm while we’re in the middle of production? The questions are legitimate ones, and industry veterans provide some answers. They explain how a little practicality, heat and attentiveness can go a long way – and may even save the season for your operation. Snow Removal Along with keeping a close eye on the local and national weather reports, Jaderloon’s Neil Devaney advises removing all exterior shade cloth before anything else. “The snow will grab that cloth a lot more and hold,” he says. “If that happens, it won’t go anywhere and just turn into ice.” Once the snow starts coming down, Devaney says long-handled brooms and PVC pipes are excellent for manually working the […]
April 16, 2010
Ornamental Grasses Are Gaining Steam
Emerald Coast Growers marketing manager John Friel says ornamental grasses are no longer a niche crop but an accepted presence, part of the perennial mainstream. Whether they serve as a stand-alone specimen or in mixed containers, grasses are getting lots of new play. Friel also believes that while durable, native varieties are in vogue, tender varieties are also serving a purpose. “One of the most popular grasses out there is P. xadvena ‘Rubrum,'” he says. “It’s not hardy, but it’s so pretty, which makes up for it. Its more recent offspring, ‘Fireworks,’ is a show-stopper.” ‘Fireworks’ is the first variegated purple fountain grass with mid-veins of burgundy with hot pink margins. In addition to ‘Fireworks,’ panicum ‘Ruby Ribbons’ is another variety Friel and Emerald Coast Growers are excited about. ‘Ruby Ribbons’ has soft blue-green foliage in the spring that takes on a wine-red color in early summer, which intensifies as […]
April 15, 2010
10 Retailer Likes And Dislikes
– It’s nice to be able to call someone’s cell phone,” says Stephen Barlow of Barlow’s Flowers in Sea Girt, N.J. Using Lloyd Traven of Peace Tree Farm as an example, “It can be 6 o’clock in the morning or 8 o’clock at night and he’ll pick up his phone.” – “Sounds funny, but we don’t have a huge place and smaller growers usually have smaller trucks – and I like that,” says Barlow. – For growers looking to earn Barlow’s or Seuberth’s business, wait until after the busy season. “They should know spring is not a good time,” says Amy Seuberth of The Farm at Green Village. Barlow says, “Stopping in on a busy, sunny day will leave a bad taste in my mouth. It shows they don’t understand my business and my situation.” – For those same growers, be sure to stop in with a sample. And remember […]
April 15, 2010
Communicating With Retailers
From video updates, off-hours contact and exclusivity, today’s retailers are expecting to work with a more proactive grower in exchange for their loyalty. Virtually Improved It’s not unusual for growers of smaller operations to wear many hats. From marketing and customer service to deliveries and growing, today’s growers are faced with days that leave little time for a coffee break or even to catch one’s breath. Lloyd Traven of Peace Tree Farm knows he is a busy guy. And rather than have his busy schedule detract from the relationships he has with retail customers, Traven chose to be proactive and hire Stephanie Whitehouse, Peace Tree Farm’s new sales and marketing manager. “I’m pretty much the go-to contact now for all our customers,” Whitehouse says. “This has helped free up time for Lloyd so he can focus on his creativity and look for new and interesting plants. I’m constantly on e-mail […]
March 31, 2010
When To Water
University of Georgia’s Marc van Iersel is focused on knowing when to water. For the last seven years he has been working with soil moisture sensors to improve irrigation and reduce leaching and runoff water– seeking total water-use efficiency. Simultaneously, colleagues at the University of Maryland and Carnegie Mellon University were developing equipment that could take soil moisture measurements and transmit them to a central computer. In addition, the University of Colorado team had been focused on technology that demanded real-time modeling of water use based on environmental conditions in the nursery. “We had basically several projects that have been going off independently for the last seven years, and now we’re combining all of our efforts to develop a system that will be commercially available,” van Iersel says. So what’s the key ingredient keeping these somewhat separate agendas together? A $5.16 million, five-year USDA Specialty Crops Research Initiative Sensor Networks […]
March 29, 2010
Succulents: What’s Old Is New
Succulents meet consumers. Consumers meet succulents. That may be a little extreme–they aren’t complete strangers–but a familiarity of this market on a consumer level has definitely been lacking. Until now. As one grower states, succulents are far from new and with consumer tastes becoming more refined, these plant types are beginning to see a resurgence in popularity. Making Sense Of It When it comes to ease of maintenance, clean-lined aesthetics and durability, succulents are at the head of the class–a message many growers aren’t passing onto retailers, who are then missing out on their customers. Grower Lloyd Traven of Peace Tree Farm, Kintnersville, Pa., says, “There’s a definite disconnect between the grower and the buyer for the store.” He says growers are not giving a clear message to the retailers, and also many buyers aren’t concerned with hearing this message because it doesn’t impact them directly. “Succulents don’t use water […]
December 28, 2009
Quantifying The Quality
For greenhouse growers, the U.S. Green Building Council is a tough nut to crack, especially when it comes to its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification process. LEED is a prestigious third-party certification program and a national benchmark that promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability in five key areas of human and environmental health, says Dr. Bodie Pennisi, Horticulture Department, University of Georgia. These five areas include: LEED development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. This certification lacks any official agricultural connection to indoor plants and the role they play in improving human health by improving indoor air quality, Pennisi says. Green Plants For Green Buildings (GPGB) President Mike Lewis adds, “Ironically enough, you can have the greenest building on the planet and do not have a single living plant in it. Isn’t that weird? “If you look at the ads and catalogs of […]
November 23, 2009
Plant Growth Regulator Primer
For some growers, the acronym PGR can mean one of two things – plant growth regulator or plant growth retardant, both of which tend to get used interchangeably. “This is okay, but can be misleading,” says Jason Fausey, Valent research and development specialist. “I like the term regulator, simply because it can be applied to those that inhibit and speed up growth.” Todd Bunnell, ornamental research manager at SePRO, adds, “Plant growth retardants are growth regulators that stop plant growth, specifically mitotic development.” Most products are actually retardants, according to Peter Konjoian, Konjoian Floriculture Education Services, especially if one considers they are used to inhibit (retard) internode elongation. Regulator or retardant, what follows is a breakdown of popular PGR types by active ingredient (AI) used in the greenhouse industry: Ancymidol Activity Applied as either a foliar spray or substrate drench, this AI acts as a gibberellin inhibitor, which […]
October 29, 2009
Analyzing Soil Humidity Remotely: Your Sixth Sensor
Growing up, you learn that relationships are built on trust. Growing in a greenhouse, you learn the relationship you have with your plants is also built on trustâ€“mostly trusting yourself when it comes to knowing what your crops like and don’t like, need and don’t need. Hoogendoorn Growth Management developed a wireless monitoring system called Sensiplant that determines the soil humidity of your container crops, so you can trust your watering regime a little more. Humidity Matters Sensiplant measures moisture in pots as a percentage, says Pete Hendriksen, North American sales manager at Hoogendoorn. “It determines what the moisture percentage is in a pot with various media, pot sizes and growing conditions. It’s wholly and specifically designed for the greenhouse industry.” Sensiplant is made up of sensors, wireless routers, an access point (your greenhouse computer) and a software program that analyzes measurements. Simply explained, Sensiplant sensors/transmitters are placed inside the […]
October 19, 2009
Monitor Moisture Wirelessly
Growing up, you learn that relationships are built on trust. Growing in a greenhouse, you learn the relationship you have with your plants is also built on trust – mostly trusting yourself when it comes to knowing what your crops like and don’t like, need and don’t need. Hoogendoorn Growth Management developed a wireless monitoring system called Sensiplant that determines the soil humidity of your container crops, so you can trust your watering regime a little more. Humidity Matters Sensiplant measures moisture in pots as a percentage, says Pete Hendriksen, North American sales manager at Hoogendoorn. “It determines what the moisture percentage is in a pot with various media, pot sizes and growing conditions. It’s wholly and specifically designed for the greenhouse industry.” Sensiplant is made up of sensors, wireless routers, an access point (your greenhouse computer) and a software program that analyzes measurements. Simply explained, Sensiplant sensors/transmitters are […]
September 11, 2009
Going For Broker-less
Dan Gibson didn’t grow up in the horticulture industry. You can’t fault him for that, though, because his route to growing might be the next best thing. Gibson, the president of First Step Greenhouses, was first introduced to greenhouse growing as an engineer for Q-COM, a horticultural environmental controls company. “After our guys installed a new system, I would sit down with the owners to customize the program to fit their needs,” Gibson says. “By doing that, I was exposed to all of the best, top greenhouses in the country. I also got to see first hand what the industry was like.” Not long after, Gibson decided to “jump in” and build a growing operation called First Step Greenhouses, which is now 12 years old and located in Temecula, Calif. “With the benefit of having seen a lot of how things are done well, I sat down to design a […]
September 1, 2009
No Soil, No Problem
Plastic pop bottles, for many of us, are another way of referring to polyethylene terephthalate (PET). This thermoplastic polymer is most commonly used to create the containers we use for foods and beverages. It’s also one of the most commonly recycled materials in the world. But did you know that PET is now making a push into the arena of growing media? You read correctly, growing media. So the next time you polish off a bottle of your favorite soda over lunch, make sure to toss it into the correct recycling bin. After all, it may revisit you down the road during your next production run. Fighter Jets To Begonias It takes a special person to make the connection between the aerospace industry and the horticulture industry. In this particular case, that special person is Joe Byles, president of Freedom Garden Products. Byles first began working with PET in the […]
August 1, 2009
10 Tips For Improving Heating In The Greenhouse
Winter drafts. They’re enough to send chills down your back, especially when you start thinking about possible gaps, tears and holes in and around your greenhouse. Nothing’s worse than escaping heat and losing money at the same time. What follows are 10 action items that will help keep more of your heating dollars safely in your pocket as the temperature dips. Bob Fritchen, sales manager at Modine Manufacturing Company, says it best: “Make sure the first cold blast is not the first time you turn on your system.” 1. Reduce The Space Morris Brink, West Coast territory sales manager for TrueLeaf Technologies, says, “The first thing we encourage growers to do is reduce the heated area in the early spring.” When getting crops started, cordon off a small section of the greenhouse in a pot-to-pot tight environment, rather than using an entire greenhouse range, he adds. With micro-climate heating, “You […]
June 23, 2009
Growing For One?
Growing for the consumer, that’s what you do, no matter where your place is in the growing process. You have it down to a science − you know how many to grow and when to grow them. Now try placing the word “online” before consumer. At first take, it might sound like an unpredictable commitment on your end, with small, singular orders and all that individual packaging and postage. And some questions might arise: Is there a better chance to mark up your goods? Will you need to overhaul your growing strategies? In reality, the sale of online potted plants isn’t a shot in the dark or a guessing game, and as experts in the industry explain, it’s simply a demand for ”super high quality plants.” Responding With Quality There’s no question companies like FloraServ, ProFlowers and Red Envelope rely on their growers. And according to FloraServ’s Ben Swett, quality […]
May 26, 2009
Remember walking into a Baskin Robbins ice-cream parlor when you were a kid? So many flavors to choose from – 31 to be exact. It was enough to make your little league baseball cap spin on top of your head. Visiting Dupont Nursery (and its website) is a lot like that, especially for hibiscus lovers. From blooms of dark blues to golden greens, it’s clear this nursery hangs its hat on the unfamiliar. “We enjoy finding the new plants,” says Robbie Dupont, owner of Dupont Nursery. “It’s the biggest challenge, but we have a lot of fun with it. You have to.” Father Knows Best Located in Plaquemine, La., Dupont Nursery is a bedding plant nursery, wholesale distributor and exotic hibiscus hybridizer. Ninety percent of its business is selling finished annuals, perennials and specialty items to independent retail garden centers. “[Hibiscus] is a big part of our business and it’s […]
May 12, 2009
Environmental Controls Go Gold
A party is certainly in order for the team at Priva. The kind of party that only comes around every 50 years. “We’re still in the planning process,” says Priva communications specialist Pam Cicci. Priva, a company that specializes in climate control for greenhouse horticulture, got its start back in 1959 under the name Valk & Prins, in De Lier, Netherlands. Back then, this family-owned business began as an importer of heaters for greenhouses. Swift, successful years followed its inception. With innovation in the forefront, Valk and Prins changed its name to Priva in 1965. In the mid-1970s, Priva took a huge technological step and developed the first process computer for horticulture. Now celebrating its 50th year in the industry, the independent Priva is a global market leader in process control for the protected horticulture industry. It devotes 35 percent of its personnel to product development and now has six […]
May 12, 2009
Greenhouse Films: Stretching It
While polyethylene film may last a lifetime in the landfill, the time it spends housing your plants isn’t nearly as impressive. Traditionally, most long-life greenhouse films are guaranteed for four years. “What growers are trying to do is stretch it,” says Nick Calabro, Northeast regional sales manager for Klerks Hyplast, Inc. “Growers are going an additional year, getting five or six years with the film before replacing it.” At What Cost? It’s important to remember a few things if you decide to go this cost-effective route. One, dirt build up can be detrimental. Each year the film is on the structure, it can lose up to 2 percent of its light transmission. For those growers utilizing a top layer and an interior layer to improve heat retention, Calabro says four surfaces are now susceptible to dirt. This build up can be a result of a number of things: pesticides, exhaust, […]
May 12, 2009
Online Only: The Next Step In Greenhouse Films
Greenhouse film doesn’t last forever. Well, maybe in landfills, but it definitely doesn’t last that long on your greenhouses. Just think about it. If you don’t recycle that film, it’s going to sit in a landfill somewhere, taking up space. The thought of going that route sends chills up Karen Kritz’s spine. Kritz heads up the plastic recycling program for the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. She created the program back in the mid-90s when then N.J. Secretary of Agriculture, Arthur Brown, urged Kritz to do something about the large volume of greenhouse film piling up in the Garden State’s landfills. Kritz used Oregon and Florida’s programs as a reference point. She saw that both programs had their own shortcomings, so she made the necessary adjustments for her burgeoning New Jersey operation. In 1997, the first greenhouse film collection took place. Now, “We average over a half-million pounds a year […]
April 29, 2009
Online Only: Two Way Street
One thing most people know about Lloyd Traven of Peace Tree Farm is that he doesn’t have a problem speaking his mind. His weekly “Rants,” sent out by eMail, touch on just about anything that he finds worthy of his two cents. They are generally well-received (sometimes not) and often conjure up discussions and feedback from those who read it. Communication is something Traven does well, and it definitely carries over to his retail customers – New Jersey’s Amy Seuberth from The Farm at Green Village and Stephen Barlow of Barlow’s Flowers can testify to that. And when it comes to contacting each other, all three agree that a good deal of expectation gets involved. Managing Expectations “After chasing a retailer for five weeks with phone calls, eMails, messages left with their secretary…enough already,” Traven recounts a recent experience with one of his buyers. “All I want to hear is ‘yes’ […]
February 10, 2009
Deadhead Common Diseases
In our “Taking Out The Top Five” article, Greenhouse Grower asked the technical experts from our industry’s leading chemical companies for tips on insect prevention, diagnosis and treatment. This month, we’re using that same mold, but we’re now seeking out advice to tackle some of the most common diseases growers face worldwide. Keep in mind diseases do vary with climate, geography and crop. This top five list of common plant infections includes botrytis, powdery mildew, pythium, phytophthora and fusarium. “If any growers are making a diagnosis for the first time, it is highly recommended that growers make clear notes and take pictures of the symptoms that were found,” advises Vijay Choppaktla, plant pathologist and director of research for BioSafe Systems. “Send infected plant samples or pictures to the nearest plant disease diagnostic laboratory for disease confirmation.” These services can be provided to growers at a minimal cost. Botrytis […]
February 20, 2018
Thrips Causing Headaches? New Research Shows Bio-based …
Dr. Rose Buitenhuis will present practical knowledge for growers to implement immediately during Biocontrols West Conference in San Diego, March 7-9.
February 20, 2018
12 New Poinsettias and Succulents for Holiday Sales, Cr…
Poinsettias and succulents are both in-demand products with today’s consumers. Here’s a look at some of the newer introductions available for retail sales in 2018 and 2019.
February 20, 2018
Top 100 Growers Survey for 2018 Is Now Open!
Operations with more than 400,000 square feet of environmentally controlled production are eligible to take the survey, which provides valuable market knowledge on how the nation's largest growers are innovating, sourcing labor, keeping up with demand, and setting trends.
February 19, 2018
All-America Selections Names Latest Variety Winner, Ann…
All-America Selections (AAS), the 85-year-young non-profit plant trialing organization, had a very busy month of January.
February 17, 2018
Gotham Greens Building Second Greenhouse in Suburban Ch…
The new $12.5 million, 105,000-square-foot greenhouse will be near the company’s first Chicago greenhouse, and will be a free-standing structure.
February 15, 2018
Boxwood Blight, Seed Your Future Among Topics Receiving…
The Horticultural Research Institute recently announced the 10 research projects that will receive funding in 2018 to investigate challenges and solutions in production, pest management, environmental stewardship, and business and marketing.
February 14, 2018
Spring Meadow Nursery Furthers Its Mission of Giving Ba…
The Spring Meadow-Proven Winners Endowment Fund through the Horticultural Research Institute has now topped $800,000, with more scholarships coming in 2018.
February 13, 2018
Don’t Let Your New Year’s Resolutions Fade …
Stuff got real in 2017, and it caused many of us to stop and reflect on the current state of the world, and how we can impact change — or at least improve our own situations. Life is too short, and we work too hard, to not use the annual renewal as an opportunity to take stock of our own personal lives, businesses, and careers, and make the necessary adjustments that will allow us to work smarter and live better. Even if you have already given up on your resolutions, perhaps you can think of January as a trial month and make February the month when you really get to work on your goals. And while I know it’s a difficult month to start on some of these changes, since you’re already immersed in the busy spring season, I promise that if you take some time to evaluate your reality […]
February 12, 2018
Calling All Designers: Enter the International Plantsca…
Applications are being accepted through April 13 for AmericanHort’s International Plantscape Awards, which recognize achievements in interior plantscape design, installation, creativity, renovation, and innovation.
February 11, 2018
Bayer Has New Turf and Ornamentals Global Market Manage…
Jose Milan will be focused on helping growers deal with regulatory issues, while promoting the environmental benefits the ornamentals industry offers.
February 10, 2018
Applications for Dümmen Orange’s Dr. P. Allen Hammer Sc…
Named for Dr. P. Allen Hammer in acknowledgment of the contributions he has made to the floriculture industry, the scholarship is intended to extend Dr. Hammer’s legacy by supporting the next generation of floriculture students.
February 9, 2018
Garden Retailers at TPIE Highlight Their Favorite Produ…
A team of garden retailers once again participated in the 2018 Tropical Plants Industry Expo Cool Product Awards.
February 8, 2018
Who Will Be Our 2018 Head Grower of the Year and Operat…
The deadline for submitting nominations is fast approaching, so be sure to let us know who you feel is most deserving of these awards!
February 8, 2018
Learn the Basics of Biocontrols for Controlled Environm…
Growers producing crops in protected structures, including ornamentals, vegetable crops, and cannabis, can learn about effective sanitation, banker plants, and buying and using beneficials and predatory insects at the Biocontrols USA West Conference in San Diego, March 3-7.
February 6, 2018
Biocontrol Track for Greenhouse Growers Reveals New Pro…
The Biocontrols West USA Conference in San Diego March 7-9 offers greenhouse growers practical knowledge on new research findings and an energetic presentation from a grower who’s taking her customers along on her biocontrols journey.